In today’s business climate, it’s more important than ever to be one step ahead of your competition. Potential clients expect you to be able to deliver more and faster than ever before – and they should. Today’s sales forces have access to tools and resources that most of us hadn’t even imagined possible a generation ago.
Successful sales forces make use of all of the resources available to them to deliver top notch service to their customers-both potential customers and existing clientele. In today’s world, that means making full use of computers, smart phones, and other mobile devices. By using Customer Resource Management (CRM) software, your company can speed up and improve communication between your sales force, service personnel, and management to ensure the best possible experience for your customers.
Automating your sales force is one of the best ways to improve their efficiency and effectiveness. Whether you are leading a small team or a large one, giving them the tools and resources they need to give potential customers better, quicker service pays huge dividends. Some of the major benefits of automating your sales force include:
- Improved sales planning. You can direct your sales force remotely, assigning territory (and making sure they aren’t doubling up), creating easy to access information (price lists, special offers, discounts, etc.), and even offering sales tips or motivating thoughts for the day. Effective planning is all about communication at all levels, and automating your sales force allows you to easily disseminate information in real time to your entire sales force.
- More efficient lead system. By having one centralized lead management system, you can coordinate and track all activity related to potential new business. Here again, this prevents irritating potential customers by avoiding situations where they are contacted by multiple salespeople. Many lead management apps also allow you to categorize leads, helping you discern which leads are most promising, or most urgent.
- Team selling. Automation and integration becomes all the more important if you use a team sales model. Your sales professionals can share information in real time, making sure everyone is up to speed. Nothing impresses a potential client (especially one who is considering a long term relationship with your company) more than seeing that your operation runs like a well-oiled machine. Likewise, nothing irritates potential customers like having to repeat themselves to half a dozen different sales and service people.
- Faster service. Why make a client wait for an answer when you can put most, or all, relevant information at your sales professionals’ fingertips? Improving the flow of information and communication helps make your sales professional look like he knows what he’s talking about (or at least like he knows how to find the information). When management permission is needed, salespeople can obtain it quickly, even if they are off site.
- Improved workflow. When you automate your sales force, you take many mundane and unnecessary tasks off of their plate, allowing them to make requests or place orders remotely. Your sales force can use automated integration to efficiently compare notes, calendars, and other information.
- Improved mobility. There’s no need for your salespeople to be chained to a desk waiting for a phone call or fax to come in. The improved flow of information and the freedom offered by using mobile devices allows your sales force to do their job from virtually anywhere. Among other things, this means they can be working on the next client while they’re waiting on the last one.
Chances are, your competition is automated. If they’re not, they soon will be. If you want to stay a step ahead, it’s critical to equip your sales force with the tools and resources they need to communicate quickly with you, each other, other departments within your organization, and their customers.
One of the most important things to try to do when automating your sales force is to get everyone on the same page. No sales force can operate efficiently if all of the sales people are left to develop their own processes and procedures.
Most businesses are able to automate their sales forces with existing CRM software and standard mobile devices. If your business is particularly complex, or has unusual information integration needs, there are plenty of companies which offer CRM software solutions, which can be tailored to your company’s needs.
When you automate your sales force, you give your sales professionals the ability to access the information they need to communicate quickly and effectively. In today’s business climate, being able to offer quality customer service more quickly is often the difference between a lifetime client and a lost client. For that reason alone, you can’t afford not to automate your sales force.
About the author: Nick Simpson is Social Media Coordinator at Kontron, a leading designer of the industrial computer and panel PC, including the industrial PC.